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Choices to Make as We Live With Covid-19

Mom in a lush garden

Happy Mothers’ Day!  This is a picture I took of my mother in 2002. We spent 2 weeks together touring gorgeous gardens in England as part of a tour lead by the National Trust. I treasure that time. As we celebrate mothers and I am remembering my mother I want to talk about the choices to make as we move past coping with Covid-19 and onto living with this virus.  

Three Rs

This past week I was watching the early morning news on 11Alive as I do every morning and caught an interview with a mental health professional from Northside Hospital in Atlanta. This professional, Nikeisha Whately, is the manager of Behavioral Health Services. Ms. Whately said something that resonated with me. Something I have been wondering about. She said that this virus (as much as we want it to just disappear) is not going anywhere. We have choices to make if we are going to move past just coping with the virus to thriving. Ms. Whately said we can keep the 3 Rs in our heads to guide us. They are: Recharge, Refrain, and Reconnect.

I have been thinking about these three concepts all week. What do they mean and how will they help us make choices to do more than cope with life right now? Then, I thought about my mother and some of the things she taught me.


My mother was a talented gardener and flower arranger. I would often find her in her garden thinking about adding a few plants to recharge a bed. This would give that bed a different focus.

When I get bored in my house, one of the things I like to do is refresh my view. I move furniture around so that the room looks and feels different. This is a way of recharging because it gives my home a new feeling, new energy. Many people have refreshed or recharged their homes by working on their organization.

As our towns, cities and states begin to open, we can recharge ourselves by getting outside and enjoying the sunshine while maintaining appropriate physical distancing.

Each of us as individuals or as family units have choices to make as to how we dip our toes in the water and navigate this new world.


Ms. Whately asked people to refrain from listening to negative self-talk. This is great advice no matter what else is going on in the world. When we listen to the negative thoughts in our heads, we slide down a slippery slope.

We can make the choice to change the channel and power up some positive energy. Think about the cup being half-full instead of half-empty. Think about the blessings in your life, no matter how small.

Do you use a journal? If not, consider starting one to write down three good things that happen each day. Here is one to start you off. If you are reading this, you woke up this morning.  That is one very good thing.

Refrain from saying negative things. You may have something negative to say about someone or something. Think first if that is your best option. My mother used say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I try to stick to this and sometimes hear her voice in my head after saying something negative. That voice says to me “did you really need to say that?” quite often my silent answer to my mother is ‘No, that was the wrong choice to make’.

Another thing to refrain from is passing judgement. Try not to judge others for the decisions they make as long as that decision is not causing you harm. Try as we may, we do not ever know someone’s story unless they choose to share it with us.


The final of the three Rs is Reconnect. We have all been connecting and reconnecting through Zoom, Facetime, Messenger, Skype and other technology these past many weeks.

When Ms. Whately mentioned reconnecting I think she meant that we can reconnect to things we used to do in new ways.

Since this virus is not going anywhere, we will be learning how to go about our lives, eating in restaurants, shopping, and traveling differently.

The choice to make here is to move past physically isolating ourselves and slowly reconnect with the things we used to like to do – even work.

We will take precautions by wearing masks, gloves and being physically respectful with 6 feet between us.

It will take time for restaurants and shops to figure out how to open safely. They need to make plans and learn which tables they can safely seat and how many people to let into their store at one time. How to keep their staff safe and how to keep their patrons safe. It will also take time for people to feel comfortable venturing out.

We will all make our own individual choices as to how, when and where we decide to reconnect.

Some choices will be made for us as there will, sadly, be shops and restaurants that will not be reopening.

What Would My Mother Say?

My mother was a risk taker. She drove me crazy sometimes because if she happened to see a house under construction that she thought was interesting she would walk right on in and tour the house.

While this is not at all a good comparison, I think my mother would say, Get out there. She would take the necessary precautions, and then move on.

My mother was about living life. If we are merely coping, we are not truly living.

Each one of us will make a choice, once our towns, cities, and states give us permission.

We will decide for ourselves if we are ready to venture out. To dip our toes in the water of what was once our lives beyond our home. Some of us may jump into the deep end, others will enter more slowly.

To live, truly live, with Covid-19 we will all need to do more than cope. We can keep the three Rs in our minds: Recharge, Refrain, and Reconnect as we engage more and more completely.

If recharging your home with a fresh view is on your agenda, please reach out to me. I would be happy to help you reorganize your furniture and your belongings to give you a new view. We can do this together in person or virtually on FaceTime, Messenger, or Zoom.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization.


  • Seana Turner says:

    I love these three “Rs.” Your Mom sounds like a very wise woman:) What a blessing to have this great advice from her. Technology has been a double-sided coin for me. On one level, I need to walk away every now and then. The political comments and criticisms get me down. On the other side, technology has allowed me to stay connected with my daughters, which has meant the world to me. i do think staying connected to family, and also to friends, has been very important as I’ve walked through this time.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Thank you, Seana. I am so thankful for technology for the same reason. My sons and their families live on the west coast. It has enabled me to feel better connected with them.

  • LISA GESSERT says:

    excellent Blog!

  • Lucy Kelly says:

    “We will decide for ourselves if we are ready to venture out. To dip our toes in the water of what was once our lives beyond our home. Some of us may jump into the deep end, others will enter more slowly.” Thank you for this thoughtful post Diane. I have a low white blood cell count so that’ll affect how I make my decision about this. My heart wants to jump right back in, but my head says be careful. Your mother sounds like a wonderful lady, I can just see her touring those houses under construction! Love it!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Thank you, Lucy. I really appreciate your comment. Stay safe and healthy!

  • I am the same way. I prefer to move furniture around to recharge myself. However, these days, I have been going outdoors in our yard to do some detailed pruning – that also helps.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I agree, Sabrina. Trimming trees, hedges, and shrubs can put a whole different perspective on things. It’s great exercise, good for the plants and good for you. Thank you for joining the conversation.

  • Julie Bestry says:

    Y’know, Denise, I realize from reading your post that while I’ve been handling parts of things OK (refraining from negative self-talk and reconnecting), I need to focus on recharging. I need some new perspectives (both some literal vantage points, so I may change where I sit and what I face, and figurative ones, as well). Thank you for sharing Nikeisha Whately and your mom with us!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Thank you, Julie. I thought both the interview and her perspective were interesting and I wanted to share them here. It makes me happy to know you thought so, too.

  • What a beautiful tribute to your mom and her incredible wise spirit! I can see so much of what you described in you. And your love of gardening was passed down from her. The idea that we need to begin thinking about what “living” means for us really struck me. Life has changed. And even though parts of the country are trying to return, that return won’t look like life once did. So it’s a time of opportunity for each of us to rethink and figure out how we will engage in life in a new way.

    It’s also interesting that you mentioned about rearranging the furniture. I had a client that liked to rearrange her living room furniture EVERY time we met. And we met frequently. She enjoyed changing the energy and perspective in the room. I tended to err on the side of “if it works, why disrupt it,” but I’ve come to appreciate the importance of stirring things up. While I’m not happy that the world is experiencing this pandemic, I recognize that the stirring up could yield some positives.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Thank you very much, Linda. I always appreciate hearing your perspective. Living will be different and it’s up to all of us to figure out what that means, individually. What works for my neighbor may not be ideal for me. I think if we can keep our hearts and minds open that will be a good start.

  • I am constantly reminding myself not to judge others. For example last week I saw a man take his young daughter to her grandparents’ house and my initial thought was “He shouldn’t be doing that.” Then I realized there are many reasons why he may have actually NEEDED to do that, and he may, in fact, have been doing what was best for his daughter that day.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      It’s so hard, isn’t it, not to rush to judgement when we see something we think is going against the tide or simply wrong. I remind myself that I don’t know the whole story when I’m tempted to be judgmental. Thank you for joining this conversation, Janet.

  • Your post is up-lifting. I mostly related to eliminating negative talk, which is never helpful and can create a negative spiraling effect. I believe what makes this experience so difficult is that it keeps changing. There’s new information and warnings every day that conflict with what we believed to be true.Under these conditions, it’s challenging to recharge. However, sooner or later it’s imperative that we do.
    By the way, as a youngster I loved exploring houses under construction and without fear!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Thank you, Ronni. I agree that it’s hard to stay positive with so much conflicting information. I tell myself to just do my best – that’s all any of us can do.